Kraus Keeps Playoff Hopes Alive with Career-Best Finish at 2020 Darlington
Thanks to a lead charge going into Turn 1 during an overtime restart, Derek Kraus recorded a career-best, second-place finish at Darlington Raceway on Sunday, September 6, 2020, keeping his playoff hopes alive in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoor Truck Series. He heads into the final race of the regular season 11th in the championship standings, just 10 points below the cutoff line for a crucial playoff spot.
It was a great comeback finish for Kraus in the ENEOS-sponsored McAnally-Hilgemann Racing #19 NAPA Filters Toyota Tundra, which sported a throwback graphic scheme from the NAPA truck that NASCAR Hall-of-Famer Ron Hornaday drove to a 1996 championship.
While he battled mostly at the back of the field over much of the day, Kraus gained ground on the leaders late in the event. Strategic calls to bring the Tundra in for fresh tires early in the third stage of the race, and keeping him out when many of the leaders stopped for fresh tires in overtime, paid off.
In the final stage, Kraus made a pit stop for fresh tires and fuel on Lap 104, then started his charge forward, moving up to 10th by Lap 120, and was up to seventh when the final caution came out in the closing laps, setting up the finish in overtime.
After lining up on the inside of the front row for the final restart, Kraus shot into the lead but slipped to second when the truck got loose coming off Turn 2. The McAnally-Hilgemann Racing Tundra crossed the finish line as runner-up, topping Kraus’ previous best finish of fourth in the Dayton season opener.
“The momentum from this finish definitely helps,” said Kraus. “I feel like we’ll be able to adapt quickly to the Richmond track and how it wears out. I’m really looking forward to it. Overall it was a great day; we struggled a lot in the beginning, but we got it tuned up for the end.”
Derek Kraus heads to the ToyotaCare 250 on September 10, 2020 at Richmond Raceway in Richmond, VA.